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Edward II and Piers Gaveston
Edward II marries Isabella of France
Edward II married Isabella of France, the daughter of King Philippe IV of France. The marriage took place at Boulogne and Edward left Gaveston as Regent in his absence. Edward alienated the Lords by placing Gaveston in such a powerful position.
Edward II was crowned at Westminster Abbey. During the ceremony Gaveston was given the honour of carrying the crown. During the banquet that followed the King spent much more time with Gaveston than his wife. The Queen's uncles, who had travelled with her from France, left to report back to the King of France of the King's favouritism for Gaveston over Isabella. As part of the coronation ceremony Edward swore an oath that he should abide by the laws and customs that the community and realm determined.
Parliament angry with the King
The barons appeared at Parliament in April demanding the banishment of Gaveston.
Thomas Earl of Lancaster
King Edward granted his cousin Thomas Earl of Lancaster and his heirs the title of Stewardship of England. Many barons were opposing the King beacuse of his closness to Gaveston and Edward needed some support. This may have been a way of getting Lancaster on his side.
Parliament was unhappy with Gaveston's actions as Regent while Edward was away. Gaveston's closeness to Edward was also distressing for Edward's new wife as well. Parliament concluded that Edward should remove Gaveston and the knight was given the role of Lieutenant of Ireland in order to remove him from England. Gaveston was threatened with excommunication is he did not leave or if he was to return. Edward accompanied Gaveston to Bristol from where he set sail for Ireland.
Parliament agrees to Gaveston's return
In the parliament held in April earlier in the year several demands of reform were put to the King. But Edward said that he would only agree to them if Gaveston were to return from exile. In the April parliament this was rejected, but in a parliament held at Stamford in July agreement was given. Edward had managed to have the threat of excommunication overturned and he managed to get support from some of the barons. The barons hoped that the King and Gaveston had learnt from their mistakes in running the country.
Great Council at York
King Edward summonsed a council to meet at York, but several barons refused to attend due to Gaveston's attandance. Since he had returned from exile Gaveston had returned to his old ways trying to alienate the barons from the King.
Appointment of the Lords Ordainers
The weight of resentment towards Gaveston by the barons led to the creation of a group of twenty-one of their number known as the Lords Ordainers. They were elected to reform the way King Edward II ruled the country, They issued six ordinances almost immediately but the main changes were not put forward until 1311.
Edward campaigns in Scotland
Supported by Earls of Gloucester, Warwick and Cornwall, Edward took an army into Scotland. Edward directed the assaults from Berwick. The campaign was fruitless even though Gaveston managed to reach as far north as Perth.
The rise of Thomas Earl of Lancaster
While Edward II was in Scotland, his Regent, the Earl of Lincoln died. and was replaced by his son-in-law Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. Lancaster became the Earl of Lincoln and Salisbury, but already held the titles of Earl of Leicester and Derby. Holding so many titles, made Lancaster the most powerful Baron of the time. His hatred of Gaveston was to become a major problem for the king.
Lancaster pays homage
Lancaster had to pay homage to the king for the new lands he had received with his new earldoms. Edward was in Scotland but Lancaster refused to leave England and Edward met Lancaster at Haggerston Castle on the border. Gaveston was with the king but Lancaster refused to meet him.
Edward returns to England
Edward II left Scotland and returned to England to attend a session of Parliament. Gaveston was left behind at Bamburgh Castle where he was relatively safe from the Lords Ordainers.
The king was summonsed to a parliament at Westminster in August. The Ordinances were a series of government acts made at the parliament by the Lords Ordinaners to obtain control over King Edward II. This involved increasing their control over Edward's finances and renewing the banishment of Piers Gaveston. King Edward returned slowly from the north arriving several days after the parliament had begun using a pligrimage to Canterbury as an excuse. The King had to agree to the demands.
The Ordinances were publicly proclaimed at Paul's Cross. In addition, Gaveston was ordered to leave the country by the 1st of November and to be stripped of his titles.
Gaveston leaves the country
Gaveston left the country a few days later than he should have done, but even then he didn't go far. By Christmas he had returned to Edward's side and made public appearances with the King. Edward also gave Gaveston his title of Earl of Cornwall back to him.
Edward and Gaveston at Windsor
Gaveston appeared openly at Windsor where the King celebrated Christmas.
Edward looks to Scotland for help
Gaveston's return to England forced the Archbishop of Canterbury to honour his threat of excommunication and the Earls to prepare for civil war against the king. Edward and Gaveston travelled to Scotland to seek help from Robert the Bruce but were not welcome.
Edward and Gaveston flee
Edward and Gaveston were at Newcastle when they were alerted to the news that the Earl of Lancaster was heading for them. They escaped down river toTynemouth where the King and Gaveston took a boat to Scarborough leaving behind them everything and everybody including Isabella, Edward's wife. Gaveston took refuge at Scarborough Castle and Edward went to York.
While the Earl of Lancaster set up camp midway between York and Scarborough to prevent Gaveston and the King rejoining, the Earls of Pembroke and Surrey besieged Scarborough castle. The castle was not prepared to withstand the stand-off and Gaveston surrendered after a couple of weeks. The terms of his surrender were generous and Pembroke gave his word that Gaveston would not be harmed until he was presented to Parliament.
The Earl of Pembroke with his captive Gaveston, stopped at Deddington for the night. Pembroke left Gaveston to attend to other matters. The Earl of Warwick took advantage of Pembroke's absence and took Gaveston from his bed. They went to Warwick Castle and Gaveston was thrown in the dungeon. The four Earls, Lancaster, Warwick, Arundel and Hereford took the decision that Gaveston should be punished and took him to Blacklow Hill where he was executed. As Gaveston was under excommunication, the body was not buried straight away.
Edward had delayed having the body of Gaveston buried until he had taken revenge for the murder, but because the King was powerless to act against the Ordainers, he decided to hold a lavish ceremony to bury his dead friend.